Ways to Get Involved

Whether you want to further conservation, learn more about nature or share your love of the outdoors, you’ve come to the right place. National wildlife refuges provide many opportunities for you to help your community and fish and wildlife by doing what you love.

National wildlife refuges partner with volunteers, youth groups, landowners, neighbors and residents of urban and coastal communities to make a lasting difference.

Find out how you can help make American lands healthier and communities stronger while doing something personally satisfying.

  • Volunteers: Gain new experiences and meet new people while helping to advance wildlife conservation.
  • Friends: Join neighbors in helping refuges restore habitat and expand access to green space.
  • Landowners: Learn how you can partner with the Fish and Wildlife Service to voluntarily restore land.
  • Local Community: Find out how communities can work with refuges better for wildlife and people.
  • Youth: Explore paid and unpaid opportunities to learn and develop leadership skills.
  • Internships: Gain hands-on work experience and develop new skills for a career in conservation. 


More than 42,000 people volunteer their time and ideas each year to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Whether they work on the land, in a visitor center or with youth, they contribute to the conservation mission that reaches back more than a century.

"Ding" Darling NWR is supported by over 300 wonderful volunteers that have given thousands hours of service. With their help, they have filled in the gaps of over 16 employees! Become a volunteer at the refuge today to help conserve and protect our nations' wildlife and teach thousands of visitors that their actions today determine the conservation legacy of tomorrow.

Need more convincing? Learn more about "Our "Ding" Family" in a short 3 minute testimonial here!

Volunteer Opportunities

Visitor & Education Center Front Desk- Front desk volunteers represent the refuge to the public who visit the Visitor & Education Center. Volunteers answer the public's questions and assist them throughout exploring the center and the Nature Store.

Environmental Education/Interpretation- Work with school groups and deliver interpretive programs.

Administration/Telephone Reception- Answer incoming telephone calls and do minor administrative work.

Roving Interpreter- Interact with visitors on the Wildlife Drive and trails. Provide information on other recreational activities available on the refuge and surrounding area.

Maintenance- Maintain refuge lands, trails, facilities, and equipment.

Monofilament Removal- Remove monofilament line, hooks, lures, and bobbers from the refuge vegetation by land and water.

To apply to volunteer, please fill out our application here today!

Resident Volunteers- We are currently full. Check back in August 2023 for Fall 2024 positions. All resident volunteer positions are posted on volunteer.gov.

"Ding" Darling Wildlife Society (Friends of the Refuge)- For information on volunteer opportunities with the Society (Nature Store, events, etc.) click here.

Our Partners

Here at J.N. "Ding" Darling, we have many important partnerships to help make light work.

"Ding" Darling Wildlife Society- Friends of the Refuge

"Ding" Darling Wildlife Society (DDWS), a non-profit Friends of the Refuge organization, supports environmental education and services at the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge. It depends on membership fees and private contributions and is grateful to those who help fund projects such as the Visitor & Education Center, internships, interpretive signage, research, student education, and informational literature. Volunteer opportunities are available with the Nature Store. To learn more about DDWS, watch their Who We Are Video. 

Tarpon Bay Explorers

Nestled within in the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Tarpon Bay Explorers offers a variety of nature tours and rentals to help you see the refuge in it's entirety- by land AND by water. tram tours, kayaking, canoeing, standup paddle boarding, and deck talks are just some of the activities Tarpon Bay Explorers has to offer as the official concession of the refuge.